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Fall brings 'new phase' to pandemic in B.C. – Vancouver Is Awesome

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B.C. continues to see daily new COVID-19 cases climb, and with the coming of fall and flu season, British Columbians need to go back to shrinking their social bubbles and interactions, says provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

There were nearly 100 new COVID-19 cases per day since Friday – a total of 294 – four deaths, and an increase in hospitalizations.

Henry hesitated to call the latest surge of COVID-19 cases a second wave. The more recent surge in new cases remains primarily among younger, healthy people, she said. While hospitalizations are also increasing, they are still low compared to other provinces, said B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix.

But Henry said that, now that summer is coming to a close, “we are entering a new phase of our B.C. COVID-19 pandemic.”

After enduring restrictions on work and play in the spring, many British Columbians were able to enjoy a much needed respite this summer by going on summer holidays and generally relaxing the precautions they were forced to take.

“Many of us recharged,” Henry said. “Now we must slow down on our social interactions and we must prepare for the respiratory season ahead.”

Warmer weather is believed to reduce the spread of COVID-19, so with colder weather coming, there could be a resurgence of the virus. And the pressure on the health care system could increase with flu season.

There is also the prospect of children returning to school spreading the influenza virus, although it is possible that this year’s flu season could actually be mild compared to past flu seasons, due to all the precautions taken against COVID-19.

Henry urged British Columbians to do what they can to start limiting their social interactions again.

“To be successful in this next phase, we need to step back to allow us to safely move forward in this pandemic,” Henry said. “As the cooler weather arrives, we all have to be ready.”

Despite a surge of infections in August, Henry was reluctant, when asked, to describe what is going on in B.C. as a second wave.

She said the restrictions put in place in March when virus cases spiked were intended to limit the impact on the health care system. She pointed out that most of the new cases in August have been largely in younger, healthier people.

“This is a surge,” Henry said. “It’s increased numbers that we haven’t seen before, but we’re not seeing that flooding of hospitals. We’re not seeing large numbers of people in intensive care, and we’re not seeing the transmission rates in the older age group that we were seeing.”

B.C. is also better prepared than it was in March in terms of its health care system and equipment, like personal protective equipment.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said there were 13 deaths from COVID-19 in August in B.C., comapred to 41 in Alberta and 84 in Quebec.

“This is not the same as a first wave, in the sense that we have 28 people in acute care compared to, say, 149 on April 5,” Dix said.

Since Friday, one new outbreak has been identified at a long-term care home—Normanna Living—while outbreaks have been declared over at Dania Home and Holy Family Hospital.

That brings the total of long-term care or assisted living facilities with active cases to eight. There are two active cases in acute care facilities.

There have been no new community outbreaks, and one particularly bad one in Kelowna that followed a long weekend in July has been declared over. An outbreak on Haida Gwaii is also over.

nbennett@biv.com

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Manitoba reports 2nd-highest single-day jump in COVID-19 cases, with 65 Saturday – CBC.ca

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There are 65 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Saturday, the province said in a news release, including 56 in the Winnipeg health region.

The update is the second-highest single-day increase in cases in the province.

On Aug. 25, 72 new cases of the illness were announced in Manitoba. Twenty-four cases were later retroactively added to that total, bringing that day’s official case count to 96.

The Prairie Mountain, Interlake-Eastern and Southern health regions each have three new cases on Saturday.

There are now 545 active cases in the province, including 456 in the Winnipeg region, according to provincial data.

Twelve people are now hospitalized with the illness in Manitoba, including six in intensive care.

Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the COVID-19 tests that come back positive — is down slightly to 2.3 per cent.

To date, there have been 1,829 COVID-19 cases detected in Manitoba; 1,265 people have recovered and 19 have died.

People in and around Winnipeg will have to wear face masks in indoor public places and keep gatherings to a maximum of 10 people starting Monday, officials announced on Friday.

The new rules come as the capital city and 17 nearby communities are moved to the orange, or “restricted,” level under the province’s colour-coded pandemic response system.

The restrictions will stay in place for at least four weeks, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said Friday.

That timeframe includes Thanksgiving, which is on Oct. 12 this year.

Other measures may still be brought in for bars and restaurants in the region, Roussin said, following consultation with people in that industry about how they can reduce the risk of people in those spaces spreading COVID-19.

Organizers of Nuit Blanche Winnipeg pulled the plug on art activities and installations scheduled for Saturday evening.

Instead, those events will be rescheduled throughout the month, between Sept. 25 and Oct. 25.

School, restaurant exposures

On Saturday, the province also announced an outbreak has been declared at the Heritage Lodge Long Term Care Home in Winnipeg, though a government spokesperson said that declaration actually happened on Thursday. The site has been moved to the red, or “critical,” level under the pandemic response system.

Possible exposures were also announced Saturday at three more schools and two more restaurants.

Someone with COVID-19 was at John W. Gunn Middle School in Winnipeg from Sept. 16 to Sept. 18, the release says, though public health investigations suggest that risk is low and the person did not get sick at school.

Classes will continue at John W. Gunn Middle School on Monday, after a possible exposure to COVID-19 at the school was announced on Saturday. (Travis Golby/CBC)

A spokesperson said the River East Transcona School Division learned about the exposure Friday evening. 

Classes at the school will continue on Monday, but any areas the person may have used were closed and will be sanitized, said Amanda Gaudes, the senior communications co-ordinator for the division.

A case of the illness has also been linked to R.J. Waugh Elementary School in Carberry on Sept. 21. That case involves someone who was on a school bus, the release says.

A person with COVID-19 in the southwestern Manitoba town was also at Carberry Collegiate on Sept. 21. One grade at that school is being sent home to learn remotely for up to 14 days starting Monday, the release says.

A case of the illness has also been linked to Del Rios restaurant on Main Street in Winkler. The sick person was at the restaurant on Sept. 16 from 6 to 7 p.m.

A case has also been connected to P.F. Chang’s restaurant on St. James Street in Winnipeg. A person with COVID-19 was at the restaurant on Sept. 12, 16 and 17 from 5 to 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, the province is still looking into ways to alleviate pressure and cut wait times at COVID-19 test sites, as increasing case numbers in the Winnipeg area have caused the demand for tests to spike.

Another 2,234 COVID-19 tests were done in the province on Friday, bringing Manitoba’s total to 175,867.

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Sept. 26 update: No new cases found in Nova Scotia for fourth day in row – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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Nova Scotia continues to have only one active case of COVID-19, as provincial authorities announced on Saturday morning that no new cases were identified in the latest round of testing.

That brings the streak of no new cases to four consecutive days.

Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 1,131 Nova Scotia tests on Friday, the provincial news release said.

To date, the province has 91,459 negative test results, 1,087 positive COVID-19 cases and 65 deaths. One person, an essential worker in the Western zone, is hospitalized in ICU.

To date, Nova Scotia has 90,719 negative COVID-19 TEST results,1,087 positives, 1,021 resolved cases and 65 deaths. 

Visit https://811.novascotia.ca to determine if you should call 811 for further assessment if in the past 48 hours you have had, or you are experiencing fever (i.e. chills/sweats) or cough (new or worsening). 

Also take the 811 survey if you have two or more of the following symptoms (new or worsening):

  • sore throat
  •  runny nose/ nasal congestion
  • headache
  •  shortness of breath

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Sept. 26 update: No new cases found in Nova Scotia for fourth day in row – The Telegram

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Nova Scotia continues to have only one active case of COVID-19, as provincial authorities announced on Saturday morning that no new cases were identified in the latest round of testing.

That brings the streak of no new cases to four consecutive days.

Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 1,131 Nova Scotia tests on Friday, the provincial news release said.

To date, the province has 91,459 negative test results, 1,087 positive COVID-19 cases and 65 deaths. One person, an essential worker in the Western zone, is hospitalized in ICU.

To date, Nova Scotia has 90,719 negative COVID-19 TEST results,1,087 positives, 1,021 resolved cases and 65 deaths. 

Visit https://811.novascotia.ca to determine if you should call 811 for further assessment if in the past 48 hours you have had, or you are experiencing fever (i.e. chills/sweats) or cough (new or worsening). 

Also take the 811 survey if you have two or more of the following symptoms (new or worsening):

  • sore throat
  •  runny nose/ nasal congestion
  • headache
  •  shortness of breath

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